James Norwood scored a hat-trick as Forest Green beat Braintree to move third in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

Norwood netted his first on the half-volley after Braintree failed to clear a Yan Klukowski corner and then found room to turn and fire low in the box.

The visitors closed the gap with Luke Daley's shot from outside the box and Klukowski scored with a close-range volley after a goalmouth scramble.

Norwood's treble and 14th goal of the season came from a looping header.

The striker came close to his fourth with a ambitious lob from the halfway line, but saw his shot go just wide of the left-hand post.

Forest Green, who close the gap on leaders Grimsby to five points, had early chances as Matty Taylor put the ball over and wide in the space of a minute.

Norwood, who signed a new contract on Monday, scored two goals in eight minutes before Taylor fired over for a second time.

Daley's strike shortly before the break reduced the arrears, but Klukowski netted eight minutes into the second half to regain the home side's two-goal advantage.

Forest Green goalkeeper Sam Russell saved point blank from Sean Marks, while Norwood netted again to complete his second hat-trick of the season.

VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Braintree Town manager Alan Devonshire told BBC Essex:

Devonshire bemoans missed chances

"They took their chances, we didn't. We started off slowly, gave away a goal from a corner, and then another sloppy goal away.

"We've got a great goal back to make it 2-1 and for 10 minutes of the second half we looked like we were going to equalise, we had a few good chances.

"Then the third goal has come from a free-kick that's looped in our box and we haven't dealt with it.

"The game's dead then. We've had a few chances but you can't give goals away, the way we gave them away."

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